Just For Today
A Daily Approach to Prayer and Scripture
Friday, August 22
“You shall not steal.”
Ex 20:15 NIV
THE WORD FROM THE TOP (6)
The eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal.” Think how strange this commandment must have seemed to the Israelites. As a nomad society, thieving and looting had always been acceptable in their culture—even expected. But God said, “That day is over. Stealing distorts your priorities. It makes things more important than people. It violates the rights of others by saying, ‘I’m more important than you.’ So from this day on I want you to be rigorously honest in all your dealings.” But there’s another kind of stealing, the kind some Christians think nothing of practicing. The Bible says: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops…the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit…Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land’” (Mal 3:8-12 NIV). When you rob God, you end up robbing yourself. “Robbing myself of what?” you ask: (1) God’s blessing in your life. (2) His protection when times get tough. (3) The privilege of sharing His goodness with the people around you. Is it really worth it? Think about it!
Saturday, August 23
“You shall not give false testimony.”
Ex 20:16 NIV
THE WORD FROM THE TOP (7)
The ninth commandment says, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” Why do we lie? For lots of reasons: to escape the consequences of our actions; to avoid paying our dues; to create a false image; to convince others we’re something we’re not. But it doesn’t work; time and truth force deception to surface—literally! In 1996 the body of the former ambassador to Switzerland was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, America’s resting place for war heroes. The granite tombstone read, “S1C [Seaman First Class] U.S. Merchant Marine.” But according to investigative reporters Don Van Natta Jr. and Elaine Sciolino in a 1997 issue of The New York Times, cemetery workers hauled the tombstone away and exhumed the casket. The reason? The man lied. For years he told others he’d served on the Coast Guard ship Horace Bushnell during World War Two. He said the Germans torpedoed the ship and he’d been thrown overboard, sustaining a head injury. But the record shows that at the time he said he was serving in the Merchant Marine, he was actually attending Wilbur Wright College in Chicago. The Coast Guard had no record of his having served in the Merchant Marine, or having earned the rank of Seaman First Class. Somehow the lie wasn’t discovered when the State Department investigated his background and he was made an ambassador. As a result, his remains were buried in Arlington Cemetery, and his tombstone engraved with a lie. But the truth came out, as it always does, and posterity now knows the facts. Think about that, the next time you’re tempted to spin a story that’s less than truthful.